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Thursday, February 13, 2014
Positional outlook: defensive line

By John Keim

The Redskins will have decisions to make this offseason -- and would be wise to add more youth to this group. They must decide what to do with Stephen Bowen and Adam Carriker. Both carry big cap numbers; both are coming off injuries. My guess is that they will release one or two players, but for now that's just a guess. Both of these players have value if healthy. Regardless, they need to generate more pressure up front -- like they did in 2011. Problem is, two years can be a long time in the NFL so it could be hard for some players to play the way they did just a short time ago.

DE Stephen Bowen
He did not make an impact in the rush game like he had the previous two years. I thought, with Brian Orakpo back, that Bowen would benefit. He and Orakpo worked so well together in 2011, but it did not result in more pressure. Bowen still played the run fine; he keeps a pretty strong base and that helps take on double-teams. But the problem with Bowen is that he turns 30 in March and is coming off microfracture surgery on his knee. That’s a bad combination. The Redskins could save $2 million in cap space if they released him. Certainly he could come back at a lower deal and that has to be an option, but I worry about that knee.
2014: Elsewhere; depends on the knee
Contract status: Signed through 2015

NT Barry Cofield
I like his game, but he’s not the NFL’s best nose tackle as the Redskins hoped he would become. But he is more than capable. Cofield started slow last season because of the club on his right hand, but once that was removed he played at a high level for several games and then some. He’s excellent at moving laterally and played with more anticipation, especially when it came to knowing the blocking schemes. Cofield is an effective nose tackle and capable of making plays others at his position can’t make because of his athleticism. He also received a lot of double-teams.
2014: Starter
Contract status: Signed through 2016

DE/NT Chris Baker
He is more suited for end, but can play inside as well making him a valuable backup if nothing else. But Baker can be more than that. He played more toward the end of the season and did a solid job. He plays low, keeping a strong base, and would stand up guards. He runs fairly well for a guy his size. He loves to get penetration, which is not always desired from a 3-4 defensive lineman. They need to keep him around.
2014: Fringe starter
Contract status: Free agent as of March 11

DE Jarvis Jenkins
He hasn’t become the pass-rushing threat the Redskins hoped he would become. He still tends to get too high after a couple of steps, but he did do a little better in that area this past season (and finally got to the quarterback a couple of times). Jenkins can play with strength against double-teams. But he needs to give them more in nickel situations.
2014: Starter
Contract status: Signed through 2014

DE Kedric Golston
He hasn’t changed a whole lot over the past few years, but that’s a good thing. Golston just does what he’s asked and usually does an excellent job as a reserve. Golston is not a playmaker, but he understands how to prepare and how to play. He’s good to have around.
2014: Backup
Contract status: Signed through 2015

NT Chris Neild
He’s more of a traditional nose tackle and best suited in a reserve role. Neild is a little like Golston in that he knows what he’s on the field to do and he executes it as well as he can. In short spurts Neild does fine and plays hard. There’s room for guys like him.
2014: Backup
Contract status: Signed through 2014

DE Adam Carriker
Missed the entire season because of multiple surgeries on his torn quadriceps. Few would try to return from that, but Carriker continues to work toward a comeback. It’s hard to imagine him returning at his current cap figure ($6.5 million) and even he must realize he's fighting tough odds just to get back to a certain level. The past two years have been a shame (he’s missed all but two games) because he was playing at the highest level of his career before getting hurt.
2014: Bubble
Contract status: Signed through 2014

DE Doug Worthington
He’s continued to stick around, though he missed all of last season with a biceps injury. Worthington plays strong, which makes him a help against the run. He’s not much of a threat as a pass-rusher.
2014: Bubble/elsewhere
Contract status: Signed through 2014